PETALING JAYA: A heat wave is currently hitting Malaysia, with weather experts saying that it could have been brought on by tropical storm Pabuk.
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Alui Bahari said the hot spell over the past week was due to the changes in wind directions in the region.
“The wind direction changes were influenced by the tropical storm, which had moved from the South China Sea since Jan 1 to the Bay of Bengal.
“The wind heading towards the storm caused a reduction in moisture and rain cloud formation in the interior and west of Peninsular Malaysia during that time,” he said.
Alui said he expected the hot spell to be temporary and that the weather would gradually go back to normal.
A check on the MetMalaysia website showed several parts in the country could be hit by blazing hot weather this week.
Temperatures in Kuala Lumpur, Alor Setar, Melaka, Batu Pahat, Kota Kinabalu and Bintulu could hit between 32°C and 34°C.
However, most of these locations are expected to experience lightning storms and rain in the evening.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s professor of Climatology and Oceanography Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang agreed that Pabuk might have contributed slightly to the hot spell.
“Pabuk may have a little effect on the current weather as much of the moisture was transported away.
“But the hot weather is mostly caused by changes in the atmospheric circulation over Peninsular Malaysia and the west Indian Ocean due to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO),” he said.
The MJO is a phenomenon in which a low pressure system crosses eastward from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
“Without evaporative cooling, surface air temperature increases and this is what we’re currently experiencing.
“Currently, the MJO is in its seventh or eighth phase, resulting in dry and hot weather conditions,” he said, adding that such weather was “less typical” during this season.
Universiti Malaya’s Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences senior research fellow Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah said the hot and dry season usually begins in February.
“Northern states such as Kelantan and Penang may be experiencing winds from Siberia.
“But the current heat wave is also due to the clearer skies across the country,” he said.